Trans4mind Home Page
~ A Journey of Self-Discovery ~

Just Be Yourself : The World's Best and Worst Piece of Advice

By Steven Burns

A friend of mine called out the blue the other day and told me about a series of business network meetings he had just been on. He hadn't left anywhere near the impression he wanted to and was getting immensely frustrated... He told me that he felt he had done all the 'right things' but people still weren't 'warming' to him. He wore the suit and tie, he brought his business cards and delivered his 30 second elevator pitch word perfect but was still left with the feeling that people didn't want anything to do with him.

At the end of his latest unproductive one he decided to ask his co-worker what he felt the problem was and his answer surprised him... He replied, "Well, everything you do is great, it's perfect, like it's out of some textbook but where's your personality? People don't connect with textbooks, they connect with people... You really should just try being yourself!"

You've heard it before right? Most people have at some stage in their lives... You don't have to be anyone - just be yourself.

This is, in my opinion, the world's most commonly used best and worst advice... and we're not just talking about network meetings here, it crops in all walks of life. Socially, work life, in business, dating you name it, at some point or another we all buy into the illusion that we have to some way compromise our identity just to be deemed 'good enough' or worthy of 'acceptance,' only to be met with the advice from a friend, co-worker or business colleague that you really should "just be yourself."

As I look back in my own past this advice has particular relevance... Up until the last few years I've always had this 'thing' where I felt I had to be like everyone else just to be worthy of acceptance... That somehow by being 'different' I would be pushed to the outside of the social circle and ostracized like some kind of social leper.

I guess it started in my own early socialization years and actually had some relevance at this initial stage. Young kids do tend to have an incredibly low threshold for difference and it can often only take the subtlest of differences to be socially black listed. So as a youngster I did what so many people do and continue to do into adulthood... I changed myself to fit in.

I'm not just talking about changing the odd behaviour here and there, I'm talking about changing nearly everything that felt natural to me. I pretty much compromised all that felt right about my identity just to be part of a group...

Does this sound familiar? Now while this is obviously an extreme example, this notion that 'I had to change who I was just to be deemed good enough' stayed with me into adulthood in some shape or form... It wasn't until the last few years that I realized the irony of this mind set... That in actual fact the opposite has always been closer to the truth! That by feeling the need to change who you are just to be accepted generally strengthens the notion in the eyes of others that you aren't good enough.

So the best advice is, of course, to just be yourself... but why is it also the worst advice? It's also the worst advice because just giving it virtually never helps someone take it on board...

Because when you really get down to it, the real issue isn't that people aren't being themselves, it's that they have bought into the illusion that by presenting themselves just the way they are, that in some way it won't cut it.

For example, say you had a room in your house that was a complete and utter mess. I'm talking plates with 3 days old food and dirty washing strewn all over the place... If you were having a dinner party would you have it in this room? Of course not... chances are you would shut the door and choose a nice clean and pretty room to have it in. The reality is, though, that there is actual nothing wrong with the room... it's a beautiful room... it's just you can't really see it because of all the distractions lying all over the place.

When it comes to being yourself around people, the same is true. It's not that you don't want to be yourself, it's that you've bought into the weird illusion that there is something there that isn't worth showing... something that simply won't cut it... so you take on this different persona, this strange social face like some stage actor or social chameleon. So the trick is not so much to focus on 'just being yourself' but to focus more on why just being yourself is more than good enough.

It really is fairly simple... The more you recognize how worthy and good enough you already are just being you, the more you will find yourself naturally showing the world who you really are... the stripped down, bare, raw version of you that is far more beautiful than you had ever realized.

For me the story of the painter and the sculpture tells it best... The painter turned round to the sculpture one day and asked, "How is it you can carve such beautiful statues out of big lumps of stone?" and the sculpture said, "Well in actual fact I don't... all I do is chip away at what doesn't belong and chisel and refine what's already there."

The same is true with your personality and the sooner you recognise this the sooner you'll show it... there is something beautiful there that you haven't been giving yourself complete credit for. It may have some rough edges that would be worthwhile to chisel and refine but it's there none the less.

Now of course I'm not suggesting that, while you do this, you can't be flexible. You're not going to get very far in life if you can't change and adapt to different situations and people as you go along... Behavioral flexibility is one of the keys to success in any walk of life. There is a huge difference, though, between altering your behaviour to achieve a particular result and compromising your beliefs, values and principles...

And there will of course be times where it's useful to put on a social face or mask to play along with the many games of life for a short period of time. This is inevitable... The problem occurs when we forget it's a game and start believing it's a requirement. So remember the key to just being yourself is to look inside and begin to see the things within that are already wonderful. The aspects that have actually always been there on a day to day basis you've just been too pre-occupied up until now to fully notice.

Putting it Into Practice
Here are three quick tips that you can put into practice immediately...

  1. Create your own mental trophy room. Make a list of at least 10 successes that you have had in your past.

  2. Spend some time each day remembering these successes. This will increase your sense of self worth and value significantly.

  3. Start seeing yourself through the eyes of someone who loves you. It could be a parent, friend, partner or even your dog! It doesn't matter, by doing this you'll start to see yourself in a completely different light.
Steven Burns is an NLP Trainer from Scotland, well known as "The People's Coach," and has recently started specializing in helping people let go of social fears and become more socially confident. Check out his latest work at Guide to Social

This new program will help you turbo-charge your social confidence, improve your skills when dealing with others, and raise your overall level of attractiveness - so that you can be more persuasive and get more of what you want from life. If you would like to have any of the following:

  • Become supremely confident
  • Become comfortable with yourself irrespective of your flaws
  • Attract the right people into your life (personally and professionally)
  • Become a lot more attractive to people in general
  • Re-ignite the attraction in your current relationship
  • Become even more attractive to your current partner
  • Let go of social fears, anxieties and shyness
  • Boost your sense of self worth
  • Meet new people effortlessly
  • Expand your social circle
  • Rapidly improve your social skills
  • Be able to talk to anyone
  • Exude value and self-worth from the inside out
  • Connect with people at a deep level that is honest and natural
  • Be more persuasive before you say a word.
  • Leave a powerful, positive impression on people.

...then you'll love The People's Coach Guide to Social Confidence.

More personal development articles at the Counterpoint Article Library

Good info on many topics:

Want to renew your life?

Our online, interactive video workshops present the most effective methods of holistic personal development...
Start off with a Free Life Assessment and a Free Consultation...

Have a question about Trans4mind Training?

Frequently Asked Questions
What Are Our Fees?
Email Peter Shepherd

Support your personal development with these popular and effective hypnosis downloads...

This is our selection of favorites, but there's a session for every need! Choose from over 800 Hypnosis Downloads...
Search now on an issue that interests or concerns you...

View all the Hypnosis Downloads here

Get a free Hypnosis Download at Facebook

Hypnosis is the key to unlocking your creativity, focusing your energy and understanding yourself

Hypnosis has a long history of helping human beings be the very best they can be. It can be used to control anything controlled by the unconscious mind - pain, blood pressure, fear, confidence levels, mood, sex drive... the list goes on:

  1. You'll become highly productive without getting stressed
  2. Tap into your creative energies instantly
  3. Really understand yourself and others
  4. You'll learn how to stay calm in high pressure or uncomfortable situations
  5. Develop laser-like levels of focus and concentration

Lean more... Uncommon Hypnosis Course

Welcome to the New Wave in Meditation Technology

Click here to learn more about the iAwake Profound Meditation Program
The iAwake Profound Meditation Program
is a way of enhancing your meditation practice, making meditation not only easier and more enjoyable, but also more efficient and effective.
Profound Meditation provides the smoothest, deepest, richest, most profound meditation experience available anywhere...
Here is a link to a free 20-minute track from iAwake Technologies - a sample of the type of tools that will deepen your meditation immediately and help you quickly become a successful meditator. It's the opening track of iAwake's flagship product, the Profound Meditation Program, called the iAwake Experience...
Learn More and Download the iAwake Experience
We think you'll find this technology a tremendous aid on your transformative journey of becoming your best and most creative self - and you can get started today!
And here's a fantastic resource for self-education...

The World of Inspiration eLibrary

World of Inspiration
A treasure trove of personal development wisdom

Step inside. Just like a real library, there are thousands of quality eBooks presented on three "floors" and in different "rooms." To purchase your $15 Lifetime Membership to the World of Inspiration eLibrary, click the following button:

Payment is made through our secure transaction agent, PayPal.
The transaction is in the language and currency of your choice.
"I want to just say 'WOW!' This collection is probably the best money I ever spent! I've already received many times over in personal enrichment after just 9 days. I've had a past metaphysical background, but even newcomers to this material will really benefit. Thanks again." ~ J.S. (Pennsylvania, USA)
"The collection is everything which you promised. And more! A superb contribution to the good of the world. Many thanks indeed." ~ R.P. (Georgia, USA)
"Just a short note of thanks for the library. I've only had membership for several days now but I already feel this is perhaps the most interesting compilation I have yet seen. Worth far more than the price of admission. The browser linked structure works well and makes it easy to manage such a large storehouse of information. It is rarely that I find something I like as much as this or that I feel strongly enough to write a note like this." ~ P.W. (Minnesota, USA)
Copyright © 1997-2017 Trans4mind Ltd